Qiagen of the Netherlands is buying UK firm DxS, saying that the deal gives it “a strong leadership position in the new era of personalised healthcare”.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Qiagen is paying $95 million in cash for the privately-owned Manchester-based company and may fork out an extra $35 million if “specified commercial and other milestones are met”. DxS has a portfolio of molecular diagnostic assays as well as a “deep pipeline” of diagnostic partnerships in oncology”, the firms noted, “with many of the leading pharmaceutical companies, including seven of the largest drugmakers in this field”.

Interestingly, DxS markets a test for the mutation status of the oncogene K-RAS, which is indicative for successful treatment of patients suffering from metastatic colorectal cancer with EGFR inhibitors such as Merck KGaA/Bristol-Myers Squibb/Eli Lilly’s Erbitux (cetuximab) and Amgen’s Vectibix (panitumumab).

Qiagen said it expects the transaction to contribute $6 million in sales in the remainder of 2009 and $30 million next year. On an adjusted basis, the acquisition is expected to be neutral to earnings this year and dilutive by $0.02 in 2010. The Dutch firm added that the combined company is currently active in over 15 collaborations with pharmaceutical companies to market and/or develop companion diagnostic products.

In order to help fund the acquisition, Qiagen is placing 27.5 million new shares, and possibly another 4.1 million shares. The proceeds, which are expected to be in the region of 400-500 million euros could also be used for other acquisitions.